2016 in the New River Valley, Ranked!

New River Valley, VA – 2016 was a banner year for the New River Valley in terms of regional and national recognition.  From Fox News to Southern Living to Area Development Magazine, both the region as a whole and the counties, city, towns, and universities within it were recognized for outstanding lifestyle, business, and educational opportunities.

Although this list is far from comprehensive, we hope that it gives you a good overview of how the New River Valley stacked up against the rest of the country (and world!) in 2016.


Safety First

•  Blacksburg (#6) and Christiansburg (#11) were ranked by Backgroundchecks.org as two of the top 25 Safest Cities in Virginia.

Happiness Counts

•  Blacksburg, Christiansburg, Radford, Floyd, and Pulaski all earned top awards in Blue Ridge Country magazine’s Happiest Town in the Blue Ridge survey.

•  Christiansburg was ranked #3 Happiest City in Virginia by OnlyInYourState.com.

•  WTKR rated Blacksburg the #7 Best City for Singles.

•  Southern Living listed Floyd among its Best Small Towns.

•  Forbes called Blacksburg a Top 25 Best Place to Retire.

•  Pulaski rang in at #10 on the Best Small Towns That Offer Peace and Quiet.


Leading Metro

•  AIER named the a Blacksburg-Christiansburg-Radford MSA #19 Top College Town.

•  In its Leading Locations survey, Area Development Magazine ranked the MSA as #30 overall and #12 among mid-sized metros.

•  The MSA ranked #4 overall and #2 among mid-sized metros in Area Development’s Prime Workforce rankings.

•  The Milken Institute recognized the MSA as #41 out of 201 small metro areas.



•  Blacksburg was named one of the Best Tech Hubs in Virginia by Southern Business & Development Magazine.

•  Southern Business & Development Magazine also named Montgomery County as one of the Best Data Center Locations in Virginia.

•  NaCo ranked Montgomery County the #4 Top Digital County for counties with populations under 150,000.


 College Town Love

•  Garden & Gun ranked Blacksburg as the #1 Southern College Town.

•  Southern Living’s Facebook fans awarded Blacksburg the #1 College Town.

•  WalletHub gave Blacksburg the #27 ranking and Radford the #90 ranking out of 202 college towns.


Get Outside

•  Singletracks.com named Blacksburg the Mountain Bike Capital of Virginia.

•  Canoe & Kayak Magazine named Pembroke one of America’s (Next Best) Paddling Towns.

•  Fox News called Floyd Fest the #7 Hottest Music Festival in the U.S.

•  LifeOutside Magazine recognized both Pulaski and Floyd as top Weekend Getaways in Southwest Virginia.

•  Blueridge Outdoors magazine listed the Flat Peter/Dixon Branch Loop in Giles as a Top 10 Fall Foliage Favorite.


Top Tier Colleges & Universities

•  Princeton Review ranked Virginia Tech as having the #1 Best Quality of Life and the #7 Happiest Students, among others.

•  Washington Monthly Magazine dubbed Radford University a Best Bang for Your Buck school.

•  New River Community College was named one of Virginia’s Best Community Colleges for Workforce Training by Southern Business & Development Magazine.

•  Giles County was awarded the NaCo 2016 Achievement Award for its Access to Community College Education program.

•  Virginia Tech ranked #9 in Research Expenditures by the National Science Foundation.


If you’d like to stay up-to-date with the latest rankings for the New River Valley, be sure to follow us on FacebookTwitterLinkedIn, and Instagram!

About Us:

Virginia’s New River Valley is a vibrant community that’s home to two state universities, Virginia Tech and Radford University, and a diverse industry base ranging from large international corporations to small technology startups. The region is designated the Blacksburg-Christiansburg Radford Metropolitan Statistical Area and encompasses the counties of Floyd, Giles, Montgomery, Pulaski and the city of Radford.

The New River Valley Economic Development Alliance is a public/private, not-for-profit organization whose mission is to market the New River Valley, to foster job creation, facilitate new investment and to improve the quality of life in the region.

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